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hi, everyone. i'm tamron hall. "news nation" following breaking. first time president obama is taking his push for stricter gun laws out of washington, d.c. right now, we're about 30 minutes away from the president speaking at the first big follow-up since announcing in mid-january his proposal to curb gun violence. the president is in minneapolis, minnesota, on the first of several expected trips to rally support to push congress to pass legislation. the white house picked minneapolis for the president's remarks in part because of major progress that city made in curbing gun violence since the '90s dubbed murdered-opolis. today, minneapolis mayor r.t. ryeback had strong words for harry reid who would not commit to supporting an asaumt weapons ban. >> i didn't vote for it last night because it didn't make
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sense but i'll take a look at it. >> how can harry reid, a fellow democrat and i'm willing to criticize him say he hasn't read the bill. mayor dianne feinstein has been a mayor. she's been in a shooting. she knows why she needs this. let's support the president and get some things done. >> however, momentum does seem to be building behindmost of the president's proposals. "wall street journal" saying the senate democrats include a bill limiting magazine clips and universal background checks despite continuing opposition of the nra. >> it's a fraud to call it universal. it is never going to be universal. the criminals aren't going to comply with it. they could care less. and factor this one in. an ad by mayors against illegal guns ran during the super bowl. it pointed out that the nra once supported closing the so-called gun show loophole.
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>> the nra once supported background checks. >> we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. no loopholes anywhere for anyone. >> let me bring in our political panel. radio talk show host and ms nns contributor michael smerkonish, mar gi o may ra and republican strategist hogan gitley. i should point out the president already arrived in minneapolis. he is at the police department special ops and there's a panel roundtable taking place. those there, attorney general holder, the governor of minnesota as well as the mayor. we heard from him. al sharpton and congressman keith ellie son. michael, let's start with you here. this ad seen in the super bowl by millions of people showing the contradiction that then and
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now from the nra leadership. can they continue to back this stance or if it is even a stance at this point or gamesmanship regarding universal background checks? >> i think universal background checks holds the greatest prospect of actually getting done. it is disappointing for the white house if harry reid is not on board with the assault weapons ban and it's further evidence like that seems like the momentum is not on its side. what's the most significant event since talking on friday about this issue, i would say jennifer hudson singing at the super bowl with the children of sandy hook elementary and nfl players weeping openly as they're watching it. >> and that very well may be true, michael. that was a powerful moment. i think the other incident people are talking about set aside the emotional of jennifer hudson and those lovely and just courageous kids, what we saw go down on "fox news sunday" of
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chris wallace and wayne lapierre. it was a hostile back and forth. let's play it. >> the president's kids are safe and we're all thankful for it. the point 0 of that ad -- >> they also face a threat most children don't face. >> tell that to the people in newtown. >> do you think that the president's children are the same kind of target as every school child in america? that's ridiculous and you know it, sir. >> you know, unfortunately, i think there are parents all over the school -- all over the country that think their kids are entitled to the same amount of protection going to school and they want their -- >> they should have secret service? >> no. but what they should have is police officers or certified armed security in the schools to keep people safe. >> hogan, you have a large conservative audience watching that and told by chris wallace he's ridiculous. how does that or how does he recover? does the nra have credibility?
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>> they do but i think losing it rap rapidly. they have talked about things they're against than for. they're for safe america. how do they do that? if we talk about background checks like they did before, that's a way to win a few flies with honey as opposed to vinegar in this situation and talk about the ways the president was right and the mental health aspect. talking about armed guards in our schools. let's have a discussion about the nra politically speaking, of course, they should be talking about we are for responsible gun ownership and we refuse to let the people of this country define this argument of let's stop letting the criminals get the best guns they want. let's keep criminals from getting guns at all. we are for protecting this nation and focused on instead of weird rabbit holes they're going down now. >> let's isolate the universal background check. you have the ad with wayne lapierre then and now. what can we expect from the nra
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in response to that? i know you're not an insider behind the scenes, hogan, but how do you come back on tape saying one thing a few years ago and then stumbling through an answer now when it arguably is most needed? >> right. well, michael was right. that might be the only thing that could pass in this. there's democrats, obviously, pro-gun democrats like kay hagan in north carolina and mark pryor in arkansas probably a path of resistance for the president on some of these issues but the background check goes in to exactly what i was talking about. the background check albeit cumbersome for those that follow the law does have somewhat of a reputation of stopping criminals from getting guns. there will always be an element of citizenry criminals that go around the types of laws because they don't care about them in the first place. >> but the nra once supported
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it. >> you're right. >> mark, the hot water's not just on the nra. you have the mayor of minneapolis coming on msnbc earlier today and going as you heard straight on with harry reid. challenging him on the fact he's not read the bill and, again, stumbling through the answer in that interview we saw harry reid not take a definitive stance on assault weapons ban and he has an r-rates with the nra. you have some democrats also if you will in hot water when it comes to moving this conversation forward with action. >> well, i think ultimately i hope folks in the senate and the house all come together and recognize there's a lot of common ground here. the american people are far less divided on these issues than folks here in washington. you don't have just over 90% of support of background checks but majority support for ban on high capacity magazines and majority support of assault weapons ban. two thirds of women in some recent polls so there are a lot
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of issues a lot of stronger gun laws the american people support and i think the question we should be asking is not democrats vulnerable but will republicans be vulnerable if they oppose it. >> why shouldn't be ask, as well, about democrats or lose credibility? you have a democratic mayor of a city seeing a dramatic reduction in gun violence they believe because of actions taken and these are not my words but the mayor meeting with the president said here that, you know, the gaming or the playing around in washington needs to be knocked off and words directed at harry reid, not republicans. >> well, i mean, i think when you look at where public opinion is, public opinion wants action, a variety of things on the table and harry reid said he would look at it opposed to folks on the right siding with the nra and digging the heels in for a position hardly anyone has so i think what democrats are saying is let's put all these things on
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the table. let's consider all of them and take real action. >> tim, let me bring you in. harry reid said i didn't vote for it last time and will take a look at it this time and part of the remarks were what the mayor honed in on saying he's willing to criticize them while not reading the bill and praised dianne feinstein and the president in that skeet shooting photograph that was released over the weekend, the nra and some conservatives mocking it saying that it proves nothing. and so, if the president and the white house was attempting to change those minds, mission not accomplished but does this change the minds of anyone? what's the effectiveness if there is one of this photograph, tim? >> i think the general effectiveness of the photograph to make a lot of people laugh. i don't think anybody, you know, realistically thinks that president obama is, you know, an avid sportsman you know.
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? he hasn't talked about guns in the past. i think a lot of folks criticizing him look silly for this. it's sort of a -- just in general, a distraction from the agenda that they're pushing forward. >> robert gibbs asked about the photograph on "meet the press" yesterday. let me play what he had to say. >> i don't have to ask you, have you seen the skeet shoot? >> i have not but camp david for him is a private retreat. that he spends most of the pim with his family. i don't think it's whether or not the president shoots a gun regularly or even if he shoots it well. >> why participate in the conspiracy by feeding the beast? >> oh, chuck, because you sit in the briefing room and ask us for photo evidence for anything that the president says or does. >> michael, you talk to people on the radio all day and hear the strangest of conspiracies from beyonce being blamed for the power outage to whatever else the people think of. do you believe the president
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made the right call and we know that the folks asking to see the photograph, mostly conservative websites, bloggers who were challenging the president here, was it a wise decision to release that? >> it was. but the very same people who are today pooh-pooh'g that photograph would be calling a program like mine saying no way he participated in skeet shooting and wanted ballistics tests for proof. damned if he does and doesn't. i'm glad he released it. >> mar jgie, we have "the wall street journal" with a report of perhaps a bipartisan group of senators and maybe joe manchin, the move through on legislation but it would not include as stated a ban on those military style assault weapons but it would include perhaps a ban on the high capacity magazines. is that likely the move to see? the president's heavily focused on universal background checks
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and included but is that what we're likely to see here at this point? >> that seems to be what people are indicating. i can't speak to that negotiation but i can tell you that all of the different things on the table have real strong support of the american people and they want to see real action and they want to see a variety of measures, particularly stronger background checks and a ban on high capacity magazines. >> tim, she brings up a point. the american people want to see the universal background checks and seeing this since newtown, the phrase, everything has changed. we watched the children perform and whose heart did not melt unless you're the most evil human being on the planet and with that said you're seeing a core group of people who actually either don't believe the polls or really don't care what those polls say and they're willing to muck up any progress if that's defined by legislation. >> i think that's true. >> tim? >> one thing i found interesting is actually, i mean, while
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everything changed in terms of the politics, public opinion has been in favor for a lot of positions for a long time. so that really hasn't changed. so, i think it's important, you know, maybe a core group of people, very, very small against some change but if republicans want to stand with the nra, they find themselves once again being the party of the 1% because that's about how many people say we're against universal background checks. >> tim, what do you think? >> assault weapons have been a polarizing pieces of gun control legislation out there. if they get everything but assault rifle legislation they'll be ecstatic. it is the core of the president's proposal. >> it doesn't need to be changed for the sake of change. we need to actually put measures in place to protect the citizenry. we have to look at the da the and figure out how to protect the people of the country better. some of the things i agree with. some i don't. i think we federalize gun controls. look at florida.
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they have a great 2010 life law. first-time offenders if you have a gun, it's 10 to 20 life. ten years. showing the gun is 20 years and using the gun in a crime it's life automatically. you start to up the crimes -- assume, up the punishment for those crimes and put it federally, that's a drastic drop in gun crimes in this country and quite frankly i think we have seen that over the last few years. gun crimes have gone down but we need legislation to affect real change and protects people. we just don't need to pass a bunch of laws just for the sake of passing them. >> hogan, thank you. tim, we appreciate it. margie, michael, as well. thank you. up next, the gop establishment takes on the tea party. details on a "the new york times" report that karl rove plans to make sure candidates don't become the nominees in key senate races. nbc's first read team says it is going to be ugly. plus, police say they're doing, quote, everything humanly
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possible to end the hostage standoff in alabama that's now in the seventh day. neighbors are now even collecting birthday cards for the little boy being held in that underground bunker. he turns 6 this week. former negotiator clint van zant will join me. first, officials rule out one cause of the super bowl blackout. the sudden power outage in the game's second half not caused by electrical work done in december. that was one of the theories. power company and the company that manages the super dome says it originated where a power line meets the dome's electrical system. ravens coach john harbaugh said he was stunned but proud of the team's handling of the delay. >> it was just crazy. we haven't seen that one before. it was new. changed the complexion. they did a great job and changed momentum. they swung and wasn't the lights or the power outage. it was the 49ers. >> and the nfl commissioner said the outage will not affect the
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city's future bids to host the game. the outage halted the game some 30 minutes and made it the longest super bowl in history. and you can join our conversation on twitter. as we go to break, the numbers are in. this was the most watched super bowl in history. was it the game or was it the halftime show? we've all had those moments.
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welcome back. new developments in the hostage standoff in alabama. now entering its seventh day. police on the scene said moments ago they're doing, quote, everything humanly possible to bring 5-year-old ethan home.
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ethan is still being held in a small underground bunker. he turns 6 this week making an already sad situation worse. a surveillance aircraft is flown over the rural property belonging to the man suspected of killing a bus driver before taking the boy. we have the latest on the situation. so gabe, what's the update from the ground now? >> reporter: hi, tamron. that news conference just wrapped up a short time ago and for the first time local sheriff seemed to acknowledge that jimmy lee dykes did have a demand of sort. he wanted the complex story told and the sheriff did not explain on how he wants it told and all he would say is police and hostage negotiators trying to create a civil environment for him to do so. sheriff jones said they're engaged with him around the clock and most communications in the day. this standoff dragged on for
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about 140 hours now and started last week, last tuesday when he allegedly boarded the stopped school bus and demanded two kids police say. and when the bus driver, charles poland, objected, he allegedly shot the bus driver and then made off with 5-year-old ethan who has a mild form of autism and in this underground bunker since last tuesday. about 40 hours and the mood here has somewhat changed and seemed to be tense at beginning. now it seems to be a slow method call approach that police are taking trying to create a civil environment for him to talk to negotiators. now, today we're also hearing that neighbors are collecting cards for 5-year-old ethan. his birthday is this week. and many of them are praying for his safe release at this moment. tamron? >> thank you. let's bring in former fbi profiler and nbc analyst clint
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van zant. gabe said they're trying to create a civil environment. when's the strategy there? >> one of the things that has a hostage negotiator i would try to use as a hook is this little boy's 6th birthday which is wednesday and work very hard -- now realize he has a grown daughter so he is a parent even though he's allegedly estranged from his grown daughter and saying that he needs to be home with the family and jimmy lee, we need you to help. number one, get him home for the birthday and let's get you out so you can tell your story to the media and everybody could understand what drove you to this point. >> and we see this often, clint, where individuals who act out this way want their story told or they go on to the blogs we have seen in the past or even have writings on their facebook page. in this case, gabe says he has this veiled demand that he wants his complex story told. how do you convince him that his
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story will be told once he is out of there and ethan is safe with his family? >> you have to build the trust between the negotiator and the hostage taker. this psychological umbilical cord that a negotiator creates between him or her self and the hostage taker where everything that comes to jimmy lee he will believe because i've talked to him for a week and everything else i've said is true and that, you know, tamron, i have had people come out before in a hostage situation, i say if you come out now, you can tell your story on the 6:00 and the 10:00 news. if you wait an hour, you can only tell it on the 10:00 news and had them come out early just with the idea that they could tell their story twice. >> okay. i believe we spoke with you the day after ethan had been taken, theory was authorities had time on their side, perhaps they could wait this man out even though we have had reports that he had food and supplies and
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light and power and be able to stay down there. looking at the situation, is that really still the only option continue to wait and try to keep the line, the um bell call cord of communication, going here, clibt? >> you know, tamron, if you were the agent in charge, i would say, look, boss, here. we have a cost benefit analysis of. is there any reason to go in today, tactically, opposed to two days ago or two days from now? has the threat to the little boy's life increased? if not, let's not do anything that's going to -- going to get him hurt and you as the on-scene commander have to make that decision, hopefully we all work together and make the right decision. >> all right. clint van zant. before you go, have you seen anything like this before? does this compare to anything in the past? >> sure. i was involved in one where we had a 5-year-old boy, same age and his mother kidnapped and that situation had to resolve it tactically. i was at waco.
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that was 51 days. probably the longest hostage sh situation in america. there's no set number of days and as long as the threat did not increase, that little boy is safe right now. we don't with a to do anything to change that. and hopefully use the talking cure and let negotiations resolve this. >> clint van zant, thank you very much. following breaking news. any minute now, president obama will speak live in minneapolis pushing for universal background checks for gun buyers. it is the first time president obama is taking his message on gun control out of d.c. and on the road. they're expecting the president to hit other cities but this is the first stop. plus, is karl rove targeting tea party candidates and does he have credibility anymore? our first read team is taking a look at it saying things could get ugly. mark murray up next. and in the world of bizarre-o politics, donald trump said he is suing bill maher.
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the most innovative software on the planet... dragon is captured. is connecting today's leading companies to places beyond it. siemens. answers. our nbc news first read team reports back as part of the gop's effort to recover from the th shellacking in november. karl rove launching an effort called the conservative victory project to keep less electable conservative republicans from winning primaries, those indicate todd arin, richard mourdock, sharron angle, christine o'donnell who all lost winnable races last year or 2010. the first target could be in iowa where representative steve king is considering running for the congress in 2014 but the head of the conservative fund the conservative defeat project
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telling politico, another example of the republican establish's hostility toward its conservative base rather than listening to the grass roots and working to advance their principles, the establishment has chosen to declare war on the party's most loyal supporters and from red state, quote, i share any candidate who gets this group's support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement. joining me is editor mark murray. but the reality you and the first read team say this could and perhaps will get ugly here. >> well, it could get ugly. also railroad healthy. this is something that all parties go through after losing elections, particularly losing back to back presidential contests and crossroads, same organization trying to have a new outfit and outshoot saying it comes down to capable
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candidates versus incompetent ones and sometimes that capability is in the eye of the beholder. there were some candidates, republican side, who seem to be competent, george allen in virginia, tommy thompkins and they all lost as well as the richard murdoches anded to akins and sometimes this issue is more difficult. >> but we know it's goes deeper. for example, chris matthews repeated this comment and someone tweeted after the election, did the rape candidate lose? i think alec baldwin. the answer was which one? you had the gop candidates who all made these, you know, horrific comments regarding women and rape. >> and that has been a very big problem for republicans but one of the issues and one of the thing that is the karl rove group is trying to do is that the republican primary electorate and many of the states is very conservative and so it's very easy for some of these folks whether a todd akin
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or maybe in the next 2014 cycle of steve king in iowa to be able to win a primary. it's another thing to win in the general election. but there's counter examples. some people thought that the marco rubios of the world could not win. he proved that they could. >> this rests on karl rove's clout and the question of "morning joe," as well, does he have clout? >> well, they did not have a very good election cycle in 2012. they had a much better one in 2010 and there's a sense of whether or not karl rove, american crossroads, has the credibility to issue threats to more conservatives not to get in. the other thing, can they raise the money to defeat republicans? one thing to ask wealthy republicans to raise money to defeat democratic candidates in the general election and another thing to pony up money to defeat conservative republicans in the primary. >> we saw with todd akin, an enormous swell of pressure for him to drop autoand he obviously
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went on to lose and stood in defiance against the establishment and he didn't have a lot of money or clout. >> one of the things that we have seen over past four years and past two election cycles is being seen as the establishment kapd date or part of the establishment is more problematic than an outsider and this is true some times with republican politics or democratic politics. you don't want to be stuck as a person of the political machine and there's a potential it could backfire. you mentioned that quote saying, look, if you're part of the organization of karl rove, you might have more trouble on your hands than otherwise. >> interesting. thank you very much, mark. we'll talk to you soon. up next, we'll get the latest on the murder of a former navy s.e.a.l. sniper as the man accused of killing him is on suicide watch. but first, there's a lot going on today. here's things we thought you should know. just getting in a new picture of
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president george h.w. bush out to dinner saturday night. he was released from the hospital after spending a month there with an infection. president bush was axeened by his wife barbara, son neil and daughter-in-law maria. and today's john kerry's first day on the job as secretary of state. secretary kerry arrived at the state department this morning and addressed the new staff paying tribute to the predecessor, hillary clinton. >> here's the big question before the country and the world and the state department after the last eight years. can a man actually run the state department? i don't know. as the saying goes, i have big heels to fill. >> that's pretty funny. okay. speaking of funny, donald trump is suing bill maher for $5 million. he says it will go to charity and accusing him of not following through on a bet.
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maher joked with jay leno saying he would give $5 million to charity if trump proved he is not the son of an orangutan. trump said he provided the birth certificate and maher must pay and said he never did. today, in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday, the united states postal service is releasing a forever stamp of rosa parks at the unveiling of the stamp, the deputy postmaster general described her as the epitome of courage. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego.
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♪ let's go. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing the all-new cadillac xts... another big night on the town, eh? ...and the return of life lived large. ♪ right now, the iraq war veteran accused of killing a decorated navy s.e.a.l. sniper is on suicide watch in a texas jail. eddie ray routh charged with two counts of capital murder of killing chris kyle. it's a horrible twist of fate for kyle known as the most lethal sniper in u.s. military
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history. nbc's jim miklaszewski joins me with more. kyle was helping or at least a part of this program to help returning veterans readjust to life here. what else do we know about why they were there? >> reporter: chris kyle and quite frankly other u.s. military veterans including other s.e.a.l.s there in texas reach down to help those veterans struggling once they get back from the war. and one of the things they would do, quite frequently, is invite them to shooting ranges to more or less blow off some steam if, in fact, they were suffering some mental anguish or as it's known ptsd. post traumatic stress disorder but in this case, it's clear that this suspect in the case who is likely to be charged with two counts of capital murder was troubled but so far nobody has been able to say that he has ptsd. but certainly, it's something
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that chris and a friend had thought they needed to help this young man and this was the first time they had met him at this shooting range when he allegedly opened fire at point-blank range with a small caliber handgun and killed both of them. he's now in custody and as you said under suicide watch. but the big question here that many are asking is if, in fact, somebody is potentially suffering from ptsd, why would you put a gun in their hand, a loaded gun? well, there's something that in the medical community they call exposure therapy but when you talk to medical technicians, doctors, psychiatrists, they say it's very risky business because you're exposing that person to the very thing that has given them their mental problems so it's got to be carefully monitored, particularly, they say, by medical experts. but in this case, they've been
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doing this program, these vets, voluntarily, for years without such difficulty. but something here obviously went terribly wrong. >> and mick, we're learning more about what was happening and the details even down to whether or not he was diagnosed with any kind of mental difficulty after returning. but do we know in these programs, do they send the individuals through any kind of counseling to make sure that they're ready for an introduction to other people and to your point even going out on a gun range as part of the therapy? >> reporter: well, quite frankly, these are volunteer programs. many of these organizations thrown together to try to do what they can to help vets. i don't know what ri gorls that chris's organization may have had in place but i can tell you from military officials that the suspect himself while in iraq
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was in charge of weapons. he was in charge of repairing them, distributing them, storing them and unlikely to have seen any combat. so, again, it's clear that he had some kind of problems but military officials say it's not clear that it was related to any kind of combat situation. >> okay. mik, thank you very much for the latest details. still ahe, just within the past hour, house speaker boehner went after the president for missing the deadline for a budget. we'll get live reaction of capitol hill. hey! did you know that honey nut cheerios has oats that can help lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! ♪ wow. [ buzz ] delicious, right? yeah. it's the honey, it makes it taste so... ♪ well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? bee happy. bee healthy. with clusters of flakes and o's. oh, ho ho... it's the honey sweetness.
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thank you for sticking around here. this is the first the president is leaving d.c.. first of several cities he's expected to visit and bring the message and this city is significant because they have seen a drop in gun violence as a result of actions taken in their communities and that were supported by lawmakers there, as well as police. >> it's a great thing. >> to say the least. you are short a -- brief today. that's a great thing, understatement. to' when a community pull s together and what's not great is the continued debate and concern we won't see legislation that's common sense and could save lives at this point. "the wall street journal" reporting you have senators of both sides getting together on a proposed deal but it would not include an assault weapons ban. what is your reaction to that, john? >> i think they're cowards.
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the common denominator in the high-profile mass shootings are semiautomatic military-style weapons and on your very show a couple of weeks ago, stanley mcchrystal, general mcchrystal said the weapons are made for wars and the rounds they fire are made to destroy the enemy. if we showed pictures of those 20 kids killed with the .223 caliber bushmaster, it would change the equation because even the congress people who are sort of bought and sold by the nra couldn't ignore that horror. so we need what the president is calling for. i mean, our state of massachusetts like minneapolis has proven this isn't a theoretical issue. this is how do you reduce injuries and deaths of guns without banning civilian weapons and you do it by universal background checks, a ban on military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition clips. >> you have the democratic mayor
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of minneapolis rybak earlier today going after harry reid for saying he had not read feinstein's bill and did not support the assault weapons bill. let's listen in. john, thanks for sticking around. >> well, it is good to be back in minnesota. it is good to be back. i was commenting that they don't really have winter in washington, d.c. so i've gotten soft over these last four years. when i was in chicago, this was nothing. now it's something. but i'm grateful for all of you being here today. i want to thank the chief and the entire minneapolis police department for having me here today. there are a number of other people to acknowledge here. first of all, a wonderful man and one of america's greatest public servants is here, walter mondale, former vice president.
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[ applause ] your outstanding governor, mark dayton is here. [ applause ] two great mayors, mayor r.t. rybak of minneapolis and mayor chris coleman of st. paul. [ applause ] and your outstanding congressional delegation, senator amy clob char, senator al franken, representative keith ellie son and representative betty mccullom. and i should acknowledge my outstanding attorney general. what's your name again?
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he does a great job every single day and i could not be prouder of eric holder for his leadership on this issue, in particular. now, i just had a chance to sit down with some local police officers, but also, community leaders, as well as folks who themselves have been victims or whose families have been victims of gun violence. to hear their ideas about how we can protect our kids and address the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. because if we're serious about providing the kinds of tragedies that happened in newtown or the tragedies that happen every day in places like chicago or philadelphia or minneapolis, then law enforcement and other community leaders must have a seat at the table. all the folks standing here
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behind me here today, they're the ones on the front line of this fight. they see the awful consequences, the lives lost, the families shattered. they know what works, they know what doesn't work an they know how to get things done without regard for politics. so we have had a very productive discussion and one of the things that struck me was that even though those who were sitting around that table represented very different communities, from big cities to small towns, they all believe it's time to take some basic common sense steps to reduce gun violence. we may not be able to prevent every massacre or random shooting. no law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe. but if there's even one thing we
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can do, if there's just one life we can save, we've got an obligation to try. that's been the philosophy here in minneapolis. a few years back, you suffered a spike in violent crime involving young people so this city came together. you launched a series of youth initiatives that have reduced the number of young people injured by guns by 40%. 40%. so when it comes to protecting our children from gun violence you have shown that progress is possible. we still got to deal with the 60% that remains but that 40% means lives saved. parents whose hearts aren't broken. communities that aren't terrorized and afraid. we don't have to agree on everything to agree it's time to
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do something. [ applause ] that's -- that's my main message here today. and each of us has a role to play. a few weeks ago i took action on my own to strengthen background checks, to help schools get more resource officers if they want them and to direct the senators for disease control to study the causes of violence because for a long time even looking at the evidence was considered somehow tough politics. and so congress had taken the approach that we don't want to know. that's never the answer to a problem is not wanting to know what is going on. so we have been able to take some steps through administrative action but while the steps are important, real and lasting change also requires congress to do its part and to do it soon.
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not to wait. the good news is that we're starting to see a consensus emerge about the action congress needs to take. the vast majority of americans including a majority of gun owners support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun. [ applause ] so right now democrats and republicans in the senate are working on a bill to ban anyone from selling a gun to somebody legally prohibited from owning one. that's common sense. there's no reason why we went get that done. that is not a liberal idea or a conservative idea. it is not a democratic or republican idea. that is a smart idea. we want to keep those guns out of the hands of folks who shouldn't have them. senators from both parties have
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come together and proposed a bill to crack down on those who would buy a gun to turn around an sell them to criminals. it is a bill to keep guns off the street and out of the hands of people with the intent of doing harm. [ applause ] and by the way, in addition to reducing violence on the streets it makes life easier and safer for the people standing behind me here today. we shouldn't stop there. we should restore the ban on military-style assault weapons and ten-round limit for magazines. [ applause ] and that deserves a vote in congress because weapons of war have no place on our streets or in our schools or threatening our law enforcement officers. our law enforcement officers should never be outgunned on the
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streets. [ applause ] but we also know that if we are going to solve the problem of gun violence then we have to look at root causes, as well. we should make it easier for young people to get access to mental health treatment. we should help communities like this one keep more cops on the beat. and since congress hasn't confirmed a director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms in six years, they should confirm your u.s. attorney from minnesota todd jones who's here today and who i have nominated for this post. [ applause ] these are common sense measures supported by democrats,
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republicans and independents. and many of them are responsible gun owners. we're seeing members of congress of both parties put aside their differences and work together to make many of them a reality. but if there's one thing i have learned over the last four years, it's that you can't count on anything in washington until it's done. and nothing's done yet. there's been a lot of talk, a lot of conversation, a lot of publicity but we haven't actually taken concrete steps yet. last week, the senate held its first hearing since newtown on the need to address gun violence and the way to move forward and the first people to offer testimony were gabby giffords and her husband mark kelly. they talked about how a complex problem like this has no single solution but if we still had a ten-round limit on magazines,
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for example, the gunman that shot gabby may not have inflicted 33 gunshot wounds in 15 seconds. 15 seconds, 33 rounds fired. some of the six people who lost their lives that day in tucson might still be with us. changing the status quo is never easy. this will be no exception. the only way we can reduce gun violence in this country is if the american people decide it's important. if you decide it's important. if parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, hunters and sports men, americans of every background stand up and say this time it's got to be different. we've suffered too much pain to stand by and do nothing. and by the way, it's really important for us to engage with folks who don't agree with us on
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